…Crunchyroll Manga Is Gonna Kill The US Manga Industry!!!

See Frog-Kun, two can play the “Let’s get people’s attention by coming up with excellent I mean clickbaity titles” game too~

But I’ll do my best not to backtrack and take it away, since I usually have a problem with that. Anyways…

Crunchyroll

No, Crunchyroll Manga is not going to kill the US Manga Industry. CR manga is still (relatively speaking) an unknown digital product, and unpredictable. The sample size of 25 titles, some of them we know have no future in print (like Space Brothers) in the US, makes it nearly impossible to be definitive and say this service is going to considerably weaken getting more manga in print. So, sure, you can make that statement if you want to, but I’d just contend it’s still too early (and kind of dumb), and in the long run, the site should be beneficial in providing a way to read manga legally.

There are reasons to be concerned with how CR Manga’s going about with things though.

  1. I guess Simulpub is something we’re going to have to get used to when it comes to manga, but at this point, I mostly just see it as awkward in theory. Ok, for certain titles, it’s fine (like Attack on Titan and The Seven Deadly Sins). But I find it weird that for titles like Love Theory and Star Light Woman, we get the latest chapters. You know, chapters that, sure we can jump in and read, but they’re not available anywhere else. No, I mean that literally–you’re not even going to find many scanlations of it, and if you do, they’re behind. So we’d just have to wait for CR to get the rest of the chapters up, but who knows how long it’ll take. That just leaves the current chapters to be all too lonely. I did ask Keith Kawamura (Brand Manager at Crunchyroll) about it, and it is a policy thing between the JP publishers and CR where ultimately, CR has to respect the JP’s publishers wishes. So for now, at least, this is how it’s gonna be. (Should note this tweet about CR using the magazine versions might be one of the reasons why.)
  2. It seems to literally be Crunchyroll engaging with the JP publishers, which is what they should be doing. But I mean it in the sense no one else seems to have any freaking clue what they’re up to. And that means we’ll have situations where a title like Inside Mari by Shuzo Oshimi, which might have been considered for license for Vertical, has a slim to none chance of coming in print, since Vertical wouldn’t want to license a title that have been made available in digital format, and situations where a title like Arpeggio of Blue Steel (I should add that CR did simulcast the anime, which may be why they got it), which Seven Seas is bringing over in July, will end up having two translations for reasons only the publishers themselves will ever truly know. (We’ll just be guessing.)
  3. Actually, to that note of CR simulpublishing Arpeggio of Blue Steel, it kind of half sped up my decision to write this, since I had been kicking around writing about CR possibly killing a title in print (or in English), but obviously, the tone and scope would probably be different. Instead, we have a situation where Seven Seas, who is out of the cold when it comes to anything CR manga related, has to potentially re-translate future volumes of a series they licensed sometime in 2015. If CR puts up chapters 1-53 at some point, they might have to re-translate their titles a lot faster. In all, there’s a lack of communication between the JP publishers and the US publishers. And this type of situation can happen again. It could even happen today too!

…But wait, you ask, why didn’t anyone worry about this when JManga got started? Well, JManga, as it turned out, is not Crunchyroll. Aside from that, yes, most publishers would not bother with a title on JManga, for the reasons stated above, and the titles on JManga were very niche. That’s probably it.

So, what does this mean for the manga industry here? Well, if this type of simulpublishing remains more consistent as the months go on, the publishers might just have to change their strategy, either A)hope that if they license a title that’s already on CR, the chapters that are released will be taken down once it’s out in print or B) License their stuff earlier. Or just find another manga since there’s thousands of it out there. Either way, this just means more competition, and maybe an adjustment on what to go after. We will have to see though.

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Justin

Justin is the founder of Organization Anti-Social Geniuses. Anime & manga fan that likes to blog about anime and manga, is addicted to sports, and weak to crossovers. You can follow Justin on Twitter @Kami_nomi.

6 thoughts on “…Crunchyroll Manga Is Gonna Kill The US Manga Industry!!!

  1. Has simulcasting killed, or even damaged, the western anime industry in terms of physical releases? If anything, the opposite effect is true and we’re now seeing more releases, and more demand for releases. Although manga is a different kettle of fish in some ways I don’t see that the “simulpub” is anything but a potential boon for manga publishers who play it right – if people read a series in this format and like it, they’ll want either a digital or physical copy that they can keep, which is something that the Yen Press, Seven Seas and Vertical’s of this world can offer them.

    • Yeah, again, it’s still kind of early to say one way or the other, as this is basically new territory. But it is true most publishers here are unlikely to pick up a title that’s available digitally. So we’ll have to keep monitoring CR Manga, essentially.

      As for simulcasting killing the US anime industry…well kinda? Mostly in the fact that now with so many simulcasts, I think most people opt for watching it online as opposed to picking it up, unless it’s just a series they truly love (well that and the fact most releases aren’t in major chains like Best Buy and Walmart). Yes, it defeats blind buying for the most part haha

  2. I’ll stick to buying solid copies…once I go somewhere that sells them of course/ Maybe when the day comes that the Earth stands still, I’ll consider buying them online.

  3. I agree with Hanners. The same exact thing happened with anime. At first anime companies were reluctant to license shows that were available online…until they realized it was money left on the table! Having something on crunchyroll is like adult swim lite. All that free exposure is almost always going to equal greater sales. If there is any negative impact to be found it’s that mediocre titles will probably sell less if people have had a chance to read them. this just means publishers have to be smart about the quality of the manga they license, which overall is a positive i think. how quickly publishers smarten up and adapt unfortunately depends on the sales numbers for the first few print titles that are on crunchyroll, and that will largely depend on the overall quality of those titles.

    There’s Attack on Titan and that’s gonna sell gangbusters. Then there’s some other kodansha titles that might not sell as well like seven deadly sins, uq holder and heroic legend of arslan. Fairy Tail will sell fine, so kodansha should be able to make the assesment that it doesnt hurt print sales. If you want Vertical to come to the same conclusion then I suggest everyone purchase Ajin. Am I missing any others?

    • The problem: there’s a LOT of manga in Japan, way more than anime. And already publishers set limits on what they do want to license thanks to the past experiences and company relationships. So I think the quality aspect (for the most part) is fine. It’s just that if licensing manga for CR leads to companies being unlikely to license physically, and most people want a title physically…then yeah, there are some problems.

      But it’s either that or companies just have to adjust. Things change. So publishers have to change. Or something.

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